So large it’s visible from space, the Great Barrier Reef is the worlds largest reef structure in the world. 350,000 square kilometres of delicate ecosystems spanning 2,300 kilometres up the Queensland coastline. So exceptional, in 1981 it was given a UNESCO World Heritage listing. But what’s really extraordinary is you can visit the Great Barrier Reef from Brisbane with a quick one hour flight and a short trip to the beach; a weekend adventure. Or make it a week long adventure. You can drive to the Southern Great Barrier Reef from Brisbane and make it to Yeppoon in 6 hours. Scroll to the bottom of the article if you need to know RIGHT NOW how to get here… or read up on why Yeppoon is a great place to visit the Great Barrier Reef.



What makes the Great Barrier Reef so Special?

Besides 350,000 square kilometres of UNESCO heritage listed beauty, the Great Barrier Reef hosts 900 islands, is made up of 2,600 reefs, and supports 400 different varieties of coral, 1500 species of fish and 4000 different molluscs. Most notable at present the reef is home to the large sea turtle which is currently threatened with extinction.

The Southern Great Barrier Reef is not just a spectacular showcase coral and fish, it also supports the threatened dugong, which nurse their young in our spectacular Shoalwater Bay. A delicate ecosystem of seagrass habitat nestled in a protected RAMSAR listed water sanctuary. Shoalwater Bay is a military training ground that is well preserved and maintained by the Australian Defence Force.

When not closed for exercises like Talisman Sabre or Singaporean exercises, the area is open for marine activities. You can snorkel the area and view mummas and calves munching on the seagrass meadows, which is why they’re aptly named Sea Cows. The Southern Great Barrier Reef mainland areas of Yeppoon and neighbouring areas have begun to install Drain Buddies to remove plastics from stormwater runoff. Increasing the dugongs chance of survival along our coastline.

View scheduled exercises to find when the area is closed and view Great Barrier Reef Marine Park Authority restrictions when planning your visit.

Dugong great barrier reef



Reef Diving Off Yeppoon

Looking for great spots to dive off the Capricorn Coast where you can still find flourishing coral groves? Or experience the tragic coral bleaching first hand whilst witnessing the wonders of natures recovery viewing the coral nurseries? Please visit our diving page. You can also snorkel small patches of reef next to Five Rocks in Byfield National Park.

Get to the Southern Great Barrier Reef From Brisbane

We recommend these Yeppoon accommodation providers when you visit.

Air: Fly into Rockhampton Airport and catch the bus to Yeppoon. There are also hire car options at the airport.

Train: Tilt train runs daily from Brisbane to Rockhampton. Book the travel train bus to Yeppoon when you book your trip.

Car: Take the coastal route or an inland tour through to Rockhampton and make a turn off the highway towards Yeppoon. We recommend some stops, but we’ll get to that in a later blog.

Boat: Sail from anywhere and you can enjoy the waters as much as Sailing Catalpa did during their trip to the Great Barrier Reef.


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